There are some who look at the 2010 ACC Tournament and see a flat-out free-for-all.
And there are others who see two teams at the top and a bunch of also-rans.
A year ago, I tried to break down the ACC Tournament by assigning percentages for the likelihood of each team winning the whole shebang. Maybe it didn’t take real foresight to pick Duke to win in 2009, but I also had Florida State with a real chance of winning (the Seminoles were runners-up) and made it clear that I didn’t think eventual national champion North Carolina would get past the second day.
So with a little bit of credibility still kicking around, let’s assess the prospects for each team in the Granddaddy of all conference tournaments.
The Single-Digit Club
Yes, it’s true that there is only one team in the entire conference with a losing record. One might even think that means any of these 12 teams is capable of ripping off four straight for a miraculous ACC run.
Careful there, Rameses. Step back from the ledge.
No. 9 seed Virginia Cavaliers
They have the worst record overall, but in this weird ACC season, they’re rank as a 9 seed.
That said, with Sylven Landesberg figuring college has little to do with class, the losers of 10 straight are clearly the most unlikely of teams to reverse their losing ways. 0 percent chance of winning
No. 12 seed Miami Hurricanes
They have 18 wins, including over the likes of Nova, South Carolina and Minnesota. OK, so the Nova win looks impressive, until you realize the Nova is for Nova Southeastern, not Villanova. The Canes get Wake Forest in the opening round today, and it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to win the game. But they’re more likely to play well for 35 minutes and then fall apart at the end. 2 percent
No. 10 seed North Carolina
Yes, Tar Heels, N.C. State has a better chance at winning this tournament than you do. Georgia Tech blasted UNC in their second meeting, the Heels are hurt and soft and Maryland would loom in the quarterfinals. Buh-bye. 5 percent
No. 11 seed N.C. State
OK, not much of a better chance there, Pack. Still, the draw isn’t that bad for State. The Pack opens with up-and-down Clemson, then would face Florida State in the quarters. Not likely, but not terrible either. 6 percent
No. 8 Boston College
The Eagles should thump Virginia, and then would get a third crack at Duke. At home, BC played Duke tough, and with four guys who average in double figures, a bad shooting day and some foul trouble could get BC into the upset picture. 9 percent
No. 7 seed Georgia Tech
Had UNC had a decent year, this would have been the conference’s clear choice for Underachiever of the Year. But man, they have talent. And lost only by two at Maryland, the quarterfinal opponent. 12 percent
No. 5 seed Wake Forest
The Deacs should just be a lot better than they’ve played. That four-game skid before the win at home over Clemson in the finale leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But Ishmael Smith can be unguardable at times, and the frontcourt is solid — or at least should be. 14 percent
No. 3 seed Florida State
I don’t like the Clemson matchup at all in a potential quarterfinal meeting, and aside from beating Marquette in November and maybe Virginia Tech, who has FSU beaten? 15 percent
No. 4 seed Virginia Tech
One big concern for the Hokies? They don’t blow anybody out (unless you count N.C. State). Not UNC-G (59-46), not Campbell (71-60), and not even Delaware (74-66, OT) or Iowa (70-64). Their ACC wins have only come by an average of 8.4 points. By comparison, Duke has won by 16.1 points in its ACC wins. Remember, this isn’t a great conference this season. 16 percent
No. 6 seed Clemson
Don’t sleep on N.C. State, but after beating FSU twice this season, the Tigers should get to the semifinals without much trouble. They split with Maryland, even scoring 79 points on the Terps in College Park in a loss. Maybe the Tigers aren’t a great team. But this is a good draw to make a run. 19 percent
No. 2 seed Maryland
Perhaps the hottest team entering the tournament, the Terps have the confidence of having beaten Duke in a well-played game (though it was at home). Clemson looms as a tough test in the semifinals, though Georgia Tech could pose a problem as early as Friday. But the Terps are balanced and tend to have the best player on the floor in Greivis Vasquez. 25 percent
This is the Blue Devils’ annual, personal playground. And none of their potential matchups before the finals — BC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest or Miami — pose any real threat. Unless one of the Big Three is in early foul trouble and they have a bad shooting day, the Blue Devils will win this tournament.
It’s just what they do. 50 percent.